Grab a jab over the Easter weekend

Almost half a million jab appointments are up for grabs this weekend, as the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme continues over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

NHS staff are gearing up to protect all those who are eligible with vaccines for the whole family available including 5 to 11 year olds, booster jabs for all adults and spring doses for those who are eligible.

So far, 94,000 people have booked in for a jab between Friday and Monday, including 21,000 young people aged 5 to 11.

England’s top doctor has today urged people to book in with 460,000 slots still available at vaccination centres up and down the country. Hundreds of walk-in centres are also open for business and can be found by visiting the walk-in finder.

Appointments can be booked quickly and conveniently on the NHS website and people that can’t go online can book by phoning 119. Local NHS teams are also offering walk in appointments and people can check where their nearest grab a jab site is online

Local teams across the country will be protecting people against the virus, with community wellbeing champions door knocking across Slough as well as a vaccination bus outside of Mithai Box in Chalvey on Easter Friday and Wilko’s on Saturday.

The biggest and fastest NHS vaccination rollout in health history has already delivered over 120 million vaccines since Maggie Keenan received the world-first jab in December.

And since 95-year-old grandad Devraj Jhalam became one of the first people to receive their latest dose on 21 March, over 1.5 million spring boosters have been delivered.

The NHS is continuing to invite people for their spring dose in line with JCVI guidance – 470,000 were invited this week and 430,000 more people will be invited next week.

Around 2.5 million invites have been sent so far to those who are eligible which includes people aged 75 and over, adult care home residents and those who are immunosuppressed aged 12 and over.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, said: “Whether it is your first or spring booster, the NHS is on hand this Easter break to get you and your loved ones protected as the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme continues.

“It is great that well over one million people most vulnerable to the virus have taken up their spring booster and that tens of thousands of people including our youngest eligible groups are already booked in over the long weekend.

“But with COVID infections still high and thousands of slots still up for grabs, it is important people come forward and protect themselves with the option to book online at a convenient location or head to one of hundreds of walk-ins when they are invited”.

Since the NHS made history when Margaret Keenan received the first jab outside of a clinical trial in December 2020, more than 120 million vaccinations, including over 32 million boosters, have been delivered.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Vaccines remain a vital line of defence against COVID, and with hundreds of thousands of Spring booster appointments available over the Easter period, it’s never been easier to come forward.

“Millions more invites are due to be sent out to eligible people in the coming weeks, and I’m grateful to fantastic NHS staff and volunteers working tirelessly to keep us safe”.

Recent research from the UK Health Security Agency showed that the NHS booster programme has helped prevent around 197,000 hospitalisations since mid-December.

Meanwhile, a report from the National Audit Office has said the NHS Vaccination Programme met “stretching and unprecedented targets” as it helped save lives and reduce hospital admissions – all while making effective use of public money.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised a spring jab should be offered to those most vulnerable to COVID-19 as a precautionary measure around six months on from their previous dose.

Regional breakdown for available appointments:

  • North West – 38,071
  • North East and Yorkshire – 62,361
  • Midlands – 137,617
  • East of England – 35,729
  • South West – 25,477
  • South East – 70,227
  • London – 90,532